Page 853. " Now then, all together, like bargemen! "

 In Russia, one particularly grim occupation performed by serfs and low-paid labourers was that of barge-hauling. Haulers, or burlaks, would be harnessed like workhorses to heavy barges on Russia's rivers, such as the Volga, pulling the barges upstream. Both men and women were engaged in this gruelling work.

In 1870-3 (after War and Peace was written) the Russian realist painter Ilya Repin painted a famous scene of burlaks on the Volga. The painting had a tremendous impact in Russia, as the wider public became aware of their plight. However, the occupation did not die out until the twentieth century.

Page 859. " Davout was alive and only slightly bruised "

 Louis-Nicolas Davout (1770-1823) did not die in the Battle of Borodino. A Marshal of France, he distinguished himself in a number of battles during the Napoleonic Wars, including Eylau, Friedland, Eckmühl, and Wagram. He is considered to be one of the best military minds serving under Napoleon.

Page 864. " offered to lead the Old Guard into action "

Napoleon's Old Guard by Hippolyte Bellangé
Public DomainNapoleon's Old Guard by Hippolyte Bellangé

The Old Guard were the most elite units of Napoleon's Grand Army. Forming part of the Imperial Guard, they were famous for their bravery and physical strength, and took part in all of Napoleon's greatest victories. The Imperial Guard was made up of the Old Guard, the Middle Guard and the Young Guard; together they amounted to 50,000 men. After the invasion of Russia only 1100 were left; the remnants fought at the Battle of Paris in 1814 before their final defeat. Many members of the Old Guard chose to follow Napoleon into exile in Elba, forming his private 500-strong guard. (Of the Old Guard who later fought at Waterloo, it is thought that very few of them were veterans of Napoleon's earlier campaigns.)